so now what?

The computer that I am currently typing on used to belong to my dad. His password is ‘five girls’ and a little notification for ‘planning meeting in 1 hour’ comes up often.

February 14th, 2017 was 119 days ago.

I feel normal sometimes. I can still laugh.

I also still feel like I am waiting for him to come home.

Its hard to see business men now. With their ties and leather folders on their way to a meeting. That is exactly what my Dad should be doing today.

Seeing older couples out to dinner or walking or getting coffee sometimes makes me just cry. My parents were supposed to have that chance.

Damn those truck drivers.

I really do feel normal sometimes, but the pain is always a breath away. Now when I am out, I look around at other people and wonder about the pain in their life. Do others in this coffee shop have tears behind their eyes? I’m not the only person to go through a hard thing.

Also, pause for a moment. I fucking hate it when people say I am going through a hard time. My dad’s death isn’t a hard time to get through, or a trial or whatever dumb shit people reduce it down to. We are talking about the Man who raised me, who is engrained in my soul and has so much of my heart.

Anyway, people are idiots.

Actually you know what let’s chat about that for a sec. I feel like people of the world have all the the best intentions but are accidently morons. I had someone trying to relate to me at my father’s memorial service by comparing my Dad to their very much alive elderly father. I literally responded with “Yeah, it is hard losing a father. I don’t recommend it” and we stood together there awkwardly. Finally my guardian angel, Sophie, swooped in and asked if I need a drink of water. TRY WINE, SOPHIE, TRY WINE! Here’s another thought. When introducing yourself to my mom, don’t start with “oh, you are Paul Koehler’s widow?” Bold move, sir. She gracefully responded with, “Yes, I am Paul Koehler’s wife”. Lord, may I be blessed with more of my mother’s grace. I usually err more on the side of Asshole. I need Jesus.

It’s not people’s fault the hardest thing they have gone through is the hardest thing they have gone through. I need to be better at remembering that. So let’s talk about the hard things. Let’s create space for everyone to feel safe enough to talk about the hardest things. And let’s not compare our hard stuff, cause that’s dumb.

So here’s the thing. I want to write about food and travel again. I have a ton of saved drafts because I love to write and blog, but for some reason I have been unable to post them. I think it’s because I am nervous and scared that people will just think I have moved on. That is not the case, obviously. I am learning to live with the pain and grief. It’s new and I feel clumsy and like a crazy person sometimes. I take it with me everywhere. I will be taking it with me to Europe. And I want to be able to write about my travels and all the amazing food I will have. I will also continue to talk about my dad, because he is the coolest. I want write about all of the wonderful things…just mostly food. Because it is my favorite ever.

So that’s what’s happening. I am back, Internet. Watch out. Also shout out to my therapist for making me post this. Bless.

 

 

 

Advertisements

It has almost been a year. Part one.

It’s been almost one year since I got that phone call, or rather six missed phone calls that I saw at 5:08 a.m.. I got that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when I called my sister back.

“Sarah…Dad has been in an accident…”.

I lurched out of bed panicky and groggy. Sophie was now up, I handed the phone to her. As it started to sink in, I felt a rush of dizziness and dread, I ran to the bathroom and leaned over the toilet.

“Okay.. Okay. So, how bad is it, how is he… do I need to come home? But like how bad is it?”

“Sarah, just drive to the airport and get the next flight.”

My suitcase was already packed, the day before I had returned home from a week in Chicago and I hadn’t bothered to unpack yet. I grabbed my bags and Sophie grabbed her keys. I was nauseous beyond belief and had to have the windows rolled down the whole way, even though it was raining hard and the middle of November.

We went to Portland and tried to get a flight but it wasn’t taking off until the afternoon. The faster flight was out of Boston, leaving in two hours. It takes two hours to get there from Portland… Fuck.

We decided to risk it. Sophie booked it down the turnpike and I made it to the gate where everyone was already lined up. I looked down at myself and, folks, it was not pretty. I was still wearing the sweats and the sweater I wore to bed with socks and Birkenstocks and some serious bed head. Some business men next to me asked where I was off to. Uh… I held back tears, slapped on a fake grin and told them I was headed to Nebraska.

“Wow! Nebraska, why there?”

“…My family.”

“Oh that’s nice, always good to visit family. Have a good time!”

… Someone just punch me.

That flight was torture. Middle seat, feeling so sick, and in some weird disillusioned state of being.

My layover was at O’Hare. It was hard to believe that I had been there the day before. I facetimed my sister when I reached my gate. I knew from our first conversation that he was unconscious. But I had just imagined him laying on a bed with his eyes closed and with a scratch or two. I guess that’s what my brain had to do to keep me from not having a total breakdown. I asked Lizzie if he had any injuries and she told me his entire right side was severely injured. Surrounded once again by business men, I was crying… hard. Thankfully this time no one talked to me.

Finally, finally I landed in Omaha. I remember walking into Creighton medical, going up the elevator and walking to the waiting room. I saw my aunts and uncles and cousins, my grandpa, my sisters, and brothers-in-law, and then…my mom. I turned right back around and lost it… again. I was the last one there.

I walk in. It felt so heavy in that room. We exchanged tired smiles with red eyes on the verge of tears.

And then I could go in and see Dad. Abby told me to walk straight to his left side because you could actually recognize him on that side. There was still dry blood on his face, in his ear, on his arm, and leg. He was hooked up to everything, tubes and wires everywhere, beeps and numbers on screens. His body was broken and torn and his brain was injured.

I felt my knees go numb and hot tears drip down my face. Is this real? This can’t happen, not to my dad! Not to my family.

And now it has almost been a year…

His body is still broken and his brain is still injured. But he is still here. If I had to some up this past year in one sentence, it would be- We don’t know. We don’t know if Dad is going to recover a little or a lot. We don’t know and don’t get to know much of anything. And living in the ‘not knowing’ is fucking hard. It’s hard to know how to feel and know how you are feeling.

Here is what I do know-

I know I want my Valentines every year. I know I want my Dad’s dance moves and terrible jokes that he laughs at, and then I laugh because he is laughing. I want to be able to call him and boast about how on top of my finances I am. I want him to become a feminist once and for all. And I want him to walk me down the aisle if I ever consider the notion of getting married.

And I know that he is still here and I can still hold his hand and talk to him. Someone once asked me if I have good conversations with him. Of course I don’t have good conversations with him, I am the only person talking, but we do share good moments. Moments when after rambling about my day, I tell him I love him and he smiles his cheeky grin. The man has a great smile.

img_7079

“Will we ever all be together again?”

-Jo March.

I’m going to Europe in two days. I think I’m going to like it.

photo 4CHEERS EVERYONE. I’m off to Copenhagen to see my dear friend Emma. After that, I am meeting my sister Lizzie with my baby sister Hannah, In Prague. Then we are off to do delightful things and visit perfect places and eat all of the food.

I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE FOOD! And the beer.. Hello  Austria!

We have a couple of plans because Lizzie is responsible, but other then that we are just going! So my style. I will have a long and lengthy blog upon my return, so got excited.

BYE AMERICA.

Too Much Dinning Out Leads to Diets and Poverty: My attempt at Eating Healthy.

I can destroy a lobster like a seasoned pro.
I can destroy a lobster like a seasoned pro.

Guess what folks? Its diet time. It hurts my heart to type that, but it must be done. I suppose that I should start out by saying I’m not an expert on dieting or healthy eating. I know the basics like vegetables are good, don’t go crazy with the bread. Sure. I mostly just try to absorb all the information that my actually educated health friend Alisa tells me. She is a pro, if you want real life info go to her. My favorite advice that she gave me was that the goal is the routine, not the end weight or whatever you are looking to achieve. Inspiring.

But you know what is also inspiring? Pasta. And doughnuts. And lobster rolls. I’m not very good at balancing eating mostly healthy and a little bad. Its mostly either all or nothing. Whoops.

Apparently eating a box of bread for lunch is a crime.
Apparently eating a box of bread for lunch is a crime.

However, I really do like to try out different diets or plans. Its like a little challenge for myself. I’m all for being healthy. Recently I have been into the idea of a liver cleanse. It’s what helps with the distribution of the good and the bad of everything that comes into your body. So when you drink wine and have a bunch of bread on the reg. Your liver is like Dude chill with all the toxins, I’m on over load over here. Enter the Cleanse. For seven days you eat like a rabbit. Then you spend a day drinking cranberry juice with cinnamon and oranges in it. And you end with three more days eating like a little baby bunny. Ugh. I lasted one day of eating well, then I brilliantly decided to skip to the juice day and then be done. Evidently it doesn’t work like that and you end up not helping your poor little liver. Whatever. I think my thing is that I’m just so not into patience. Its so boring. I last for like five days max with eating well and then I’m bored.

I could go on and on about failed diets, but I’d rather chat about the most amazing dinner I had last night. No! I need to focus.

This is my new idea. I have this blog and now I feel like I have accountability! All of my readers! ……So hi mom!

I’m going to spend two weeks eating simply. Smaller portions, more vegetables, less wine (punch me), and being more active. Sounds simple. WHATEVER IT IS SO NOT WHEN CREME BRULEE IS A THING IN THE WORLD.

Elements is a coffee shop that also sells wine, beer, and books. So I'm obviously a regular.
Elements is a coffee shop that also sells wine, beer, and books. So I’m obviously a regular.

And break! I’ll update you in two weeks Internet. I’m pretending you care. Bless you.

When I plan the vacation it revolves around where, when, and what we eat: Abby’s trip to Maine.

CHEERS TO PINK DRINKS

Last week Abigail  blessed me with her presence! I picked her up from the airport in Portland and we went straight to Even Tide. I have mentioned this restaurant before and will continue to until my dying day. It was a warm evening so Abby ordered a sparking cocktail with lavender and other trendy stuff and I went with a glass of prosecco, not as cool but just what I wanted. OBVIOUSLY we had the lobster roll. Its an absolute crime not to order it when you are there. The bun is very light and soft and the brown butter that they put on top just makes it so magical (Okay. Now I’m hungry….). We also got the scallops and damn where they good. Also the very nice fellow next to us let us eat the rest of his clams. He was on a business trip and just had a lot of clam chowder and was full. We were doing him a favor. Bless our hearts. Oh yeah, and they were amazing.

The next day I had to work in the morning so Grandpa Phillips took Abby out to breakfast at David’s. And that is all that I wish to say on that subject. I will say, however, that I am still mad about it because David’s is SO good. They have mimosas and cinnamon rolls and croissants that will make you fall over they are so good. Whatever I’m fine. Totally fine. After I finished slaving away, I took Abby to all the hot spots so the professional could take pictures. I assume she is going to write a blog post with all of her killer pictures and her take on the trip. When she does, I will reblog it. DON’T WORRY. So yeah, we went to Goose Rocks beach and down some cliff near Walkers Point, that’s 41’s house for those of you who don’t know. And by 41, I mean President George Herbert Walker Bush. And the flag was flying so he was there. They didn’t let us visit though, so rude.

picturerocks

Okay listen up, this is where things get good. We checked into the Inn at English Meadows. That’s the Bed and Breakfast that my sweet, sweet brother-in-law bought a night for us months ago! Yeah, he’s a keeper. We dropped off our bags and went to dinner. We headed to the pier to my personal favorite place, The Ramp. I got mussels, shock, I know. And Abby ordered the sea food stew. We ate our pile of sea food so Abby really could feel like she did her coastal vacation justice. We felt pretty good about it. Next we headed to Old Vines for a bottle of wine. Not each!! We split it. I know what you were thinking. Come on now. The place is very cute. Its small and cozy and when its a little warmer, it will be a great place to sit outside. Then we head back to English Meadows and we stop in to talk to the Innkeepers. Okay, to get out complimentary glass of wine, you got me. But we ended up talking with them for a while and guess who ended up with a morning job?! That’s right. Your’s truly gets to help serve breakfast to the lovely vacation people who are obviously the smartest and the best because they choose to stay at the cutest B&B in Maine.  I’m pretty thrilled about it.

IMG_4016
Part of our gourmet breakfast at English Meadows.

Okay enough about me, back to Abby’s visit and Food. Friday was probably our most productive day. After a charming breakfast including sour cherry scones with cinnamon, honey butter, maple yogurt with berries and goat cheese scrambled eggs, asparagus and toast. We were quite content. After we left the B&B (me with a new job, AH!) we stopped by Boulangerie: A Proper Bakery. This is a new shop to Kennebunk and I’m so glad they are here. It is very rustic and beautiful and the bread. Oh the bread. Just come visit me so we can go eat some bread and talk about it. We made our way back to the cape and packed up the canoe with our picnic and yoga mats and set off to the ocean. We set off for Goat Island, stopping at a couple other islands. I don’t know what they were called, so don’t ask. We made it with sore arms, ready for our mini bottles of prosecco! We had the most picture perfect picnic on a large rock next to the lighthouse looking out to the ocean. It’s fine, I’m crying.

canoeIMG_4021

IMG_4035

Dinner that evening was a treat. We went out with Grandpa Phillips and his friend Martha, she is a treasure. We went to The Village Tavern where they new everyone. They are so popular. I knew exactly what I wanted to order, I will probably always order it. The blackened salmon with the best lemon butter sauce and the roasted Brussels sprouts. Is it just me or are Brussels sprouts all the rage these days? I don’t know, but I’m totally cool with it. And for dessert… Creme brulee. Be still my heart. I’m not much of a dessert person but I adore creme brulee.FullSizeRender

So our last day we packed. We went to Biddeford so that we could go to The Palace Dinner. There is only 12 or so seats and it was packed five minutes after they opened. We ordered the banana bread (it’s perfectly soft in the middle, crunchy on the edges are a tiny bit salty), caramelized grapefruit and the tastiest beef hash. Worth the drive. Next we headed to Portland to get our eye brows done like divas, but the main event was The Holy Donut. Yum yum yum!! They make them with Maine Potatoes. Don’t ask, just go eat.

I'll wait all day.
I’ll wait all day.
BUT PLEASE HURRY YOUR BUTTS. I want my donut.
BUT PLEASE HURRY YOUR BUTTS. I want my donut.
HELLO
HELLO
IMG_6180
I went with maple bacon. I’m obviously all about it.

Now on a sugar high we drove over the bridge to Cape Elizabeth to the Portland Head Light. Solid picture taking place. A must. After Abby got all the shots she wanted, we headed back to Kennebunkport for a little shopping. Trinkets were bought and then it was finally time for LOBSTER! We went to Nunan’s, it filled up real quick. We spied on the pros around us so we wouldn’t look like morons when we went to dig it. And folks, let me tell you, eating a whole lobster in something I would like to do probably everyday. It was just too good. This is why I moved here. That’s the only reason I’m going to tell people now. When we got back our cousin Molly was there! Grandpa Phillips is her grandpa, in case anyone was confused. Then our cousin Robbie stopped by with his fiance. We bonded, I broke a light bulb, so the Hungerford cousin meet-up was a success.lobsterIMG_4074

And that concludes Abby’s visit. It was just lovely. And next time her husband will come too. And when they stay at English Meadows, I can serve them breakfast!

Bike rides and walks in the city, but mostly food: My Chicago Trip.

Who is ready for a play by play of my killer Chicago trip? Good. Here ya go!

Nate flew in from Kansas City and I came from Boston. Our flights got in at almost the same time. Rachel and Rob, Nate’s sister and brother-in-law picked us up and… you guessed it, we went straight to a restaurant. We went to The Little Goat, the nicest diner I have ever been to. It is Stephanie Izard’s second restaurant, her first is Girl & The Goat. She won Top Chef if you are not up to date or an avid cooking show watcher like Your’s Truly. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. We got there at 10 pm and I ordered a mimosa because I could! Bless that place. Breakfast is a way of life and I’m good at it.

The Little Goat. Darling.
The Little Goat. Darling.

Saturday we ran some errands and met up with my friend Katherine for lunch at Frasca, probably my favorite place that we went. I wanted everything on the menu, I settled for a brussel sprout white pizza. I love brussel sprouts, okay? I did however try everyone else’s food. Rachel ordered an amazing salad with avocado, corn, almonds, chicken, craisins, goat cheese and all the other good stuff. Katherine got the tomato braised pork hash with spicy bacon hollandaise… I mean lets just say I helped myself. Nate went for an omelette with a bunch of cheese, bacon, Italian sausage. It was tasty and just like him to order that. Wonderful place. I think the hardest part about Chicago is forcing myself to not go back to the same place twice in one trip. My life is so rough.

Everyone's food was in arm's reach, thankfully.
Everyone’s food was in arm’s reach, thankfully.

frascaa

Katherine and I ventured off to Downtown where she lives and walked around her hood. I walked off all of my lunches and we went to Eataly. People this place is out of a dream. I’m not kidding. Imagine two floors of Italian everything. They have three restaurants inside of this place. We each got ourselves a glass of wine and walked around, because you can just casually do that. We wondered through the cheese sections drooling. They have everything, olives for days, pasta for miles, and spices and fruits and cook books and EVERYTHING. Grocery shopping is already one of my favorite things so this was just the most heavenly place. You could literally do your grocery shopping with a glass of wine in your hand. HELLO! Let me at that. Ah! I almost forgot to tell you the best part! Guess who walked right by us?? Lidia Bastianich! Only the PBS cooking show superstar!!! I freaked. Katherine did a great job trying not to be embarrassed by me. It just made Eataly that much more legitimate. I told you it was out of a dream!

eataly

katherine

cheese
This was only a tiny part of the cheese section. Can you believe?

We walked to Millennium park with all the other tourist and did our duty and took a picture by the bean. Next we met up with Nate and Rachel at the Green Lady Lounge. This is a precious bar that we go to every time we come. They open up the windows to the street and their tap beer selection is extensive. Nate was pleased. I had wine. For dinner we walked to a sushi place, I think it was called Hot Woks. I was so hungry I wasn’t paying attention. I haven’t had any sushi since moving, I don’t think they believe in it here in Maine. As Gordon Ramsey would say, “Damn, what a shame”. Anyway, the sushi was incredible. We ordered all sorts of rolls with exotic names and they lived up to their hype. The Confusion was a roll that Rachel ordered (this homegirl knows what she is doing), it had sweet potato in it and all sorts of fish piled on top. Magical.

Sunday we went to their church, a delight, and followed it up with lunch at The Parlor. We ordered a punch bowl and downed it. The pizza was tasty. I left happy and tipsy. Solid Sunday so far.

The punch had rum and pineapple and other stuff. Super good and not too sweet.
The punch had rum and pineapple and other stuff. Super good and not too sweet.

Next we stopped at a Osmium, a coffee shop that made me feel like I was back in KC. The baristas were super friendly and chill and the menu had some crazy drinks you could order. I went for English breakfast because I am boring. But Nate ordered a latte with sage, pepper and maple… would you like me to repeat that? SAGE, PEPPER, AND MAPLE! It tasted like Thanksgiving and happiness. I want to live above that place.

coffeeshop latte

For dinner we cooked in, Mexican style. Tortilla crusted chicken with a mango salsa, a salad with corn and avocado, and yellow rice. I just sliced things and popped in the living room to watch Nate watching the Blackhawks. Good times.

mexian food

I know what you are thinking, Sarah you really need to do something to burn off all that eating out. Never fear! Monday was bike ride day! We rode from their house in Wrigleyville to Lincoln Park. We set up our picnic outside the conservatory with prosecco and empanadas that we stopped for along the way. It was charming.

picnic
Rachel and Rob living it up.

IMG_3896prosecco

consevatory
I really wanted to have tea in the conservatory, but that wasn’t and option.

CUTE

So far we had a lot of breakfast and pizza and bistro food. Time for a good old fashion hamburger. DMK was our pick for dinner and it was a good choice. My hamburger had an egg, green chiles, jack cheese and bacon on it. It was yum. I’d go back.

The last day Nate and I had all to ourselves. We wondered around the Roscoe neighborhood. We stopped for awhile in the cutest book store to pick out some new books. I went with All The Birds Singing by Evie Wyld. So far its really good, but I can’t read it late at night because I live alone and I get scared. But it’s good intense read, I promise. For lunch we couldn’t decide between brunch or sushi.. we finally went with sushi. I needed my fill before going home!

IMG_3883
On our way to lunch looking adorable. I’ll admit it!

I just love eating and Chicago is so conducive to my passion. Good thing it is only a cheap, short flight away. Until next time! IMG_3867

EMOTIONS

What is even the point of them? I cannot know. I spend most my days walking down to the pier or driving along the beach swing to a delightful little beach. Then I go to a coffee shop, gets some tea and do my daily job applying. Then I explore a little bit, stop in and applying for cute places. Then I go home and feel super accomplished or once in while I just CRY. Who can know why? Also I need friends, like yesterday. I’m not lonely (Okay Mom?), but if I don’t have anyone to complain to then I am going to have to do it here and NO ONE wants that. Positive vibes only here, thank you very much.

This is from a foggy morning drive. I mean... hello.
This is from a foggy morning drive. I mean… hello.

ANYWAY.

No one needs to care about emotions, lets get to the good stuff. Food.

My favorite places so far are… The Ramp. I thought I loved mussels before… I was wrong. I hated them compare to how much I love them now. Also bonus, its half a mile from Half Tide. Yeah, that’s right, they place where I am staying has it’s own name. Even Tide is in Portland and when I told someone I went there, they were shocked I got in. Its a hopping place. I went at two in the afternoon, I was accidentally totally brilliant. I ordered a beer and a lobster roll. HOLY MOTHER it was incredible. Brown butter folks, brown butter. The Hurricane was also a treat. I ordered the clams. They were magical. I had never had clams before and that is the saddest thing I have ever written. These places are a little pricey but going out to eat alone makes the bill always surprisingly cheap. I recommend it.

These are the clams with corn, chorizo, and other stuff. Kick ass.
These are the clams with corn, chorizo, and other stuff. Kick ass.

I cannot wait to eat more. I still have yet to have steamers, or a giant lobster, or probably a lot of other things I don’t even know about yet. I’m thrilled.